Stan's Tuesday Walks

A Weekly Feature
by Stan Evans,
President, Santa Fe Always Online

August 7 , 2001

At 2 a.m. this morning I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. I know this happens occasionally to a lot of us. With me, it usually has to do with work that has piled up, making me feel like I'll never catch up. So I toss and turn and worry, even though there's not much I can do to solve my problems at that hour. On this particular morning, however, my distress was not totally related to work.

Three fishing buddies had called on Sunday to ask me to join them on a two-day fly-fishing trip. Lying there with my face smashed against the pillow, I reminded myself of a TV ad that shows a boy sitting in the back seat of his family car with his face distorted from pressing it against the window, agonizing over having to listen to his mom and dad driving down the highway singing some dorky song with a refrain that goes, "polly wolly doodle all the day." In my case it was agonizing over the fact that I couldn't go fly fishing.

My buddies were planning to leave Tuesday morning around 9. I said I would try to rearrange my schedule to join them, but I would let them know for sure Monday night. When Monday night rolled around, however, I finally came to the conclusion that I wouldn't be able to make the trip. So with great sadness I called my friends to let them know.

Anyway, after tossing and turning for two hours in the cool of the morning, I finally got up. (The temperature was around 60 degrees, perfect for sleeping. I mention this just to make you jealous—most of you in this hemisphere experience much more heat at that time of the morning.) I knew this was going to be a tough day, with all I had to do on only three and a half hours of sleep—dreaming of fly fishing all the while.

Fly fishing is my passion, and not so long ago I was doing it on a regular basis. It's a grand sport that can be done by anyone, although out of the many who fly fish, only a few are good casters. Fly casting is an art form and an important part of fly fishing. Yet for some reason, most people who fly fish never learn to do it correctly, even though they may have fished for years. One reason might be that people who fish all their lives on small streams such as the ones we have here in New Mexico do not have a need to cast their fly lines a great distance.

Without even trying to catch a fish, fly fishing is fun. Casting on the grass of a city park is a good way to improve your technique. For some reason, women have an easier time than men in learning how to cast properly. I think it's because they are better students and listen to instruction better. One of the best casting instructors in the world is a lady by the name of Joan Wulff, who has a fly-fishing school on the Beaverkill River northwest of New York City.

Fly casting, when done correctly, is like hitting a drive straight down the fairway or hitting a tennis ball in the sweet spot on the racquet and sending it down the line as your opponent rushes the net. Fly casting is a very important part of fly fishing, and this is particularly true when working big rivers or fishing in the ocean for tarpon, bonefish or permit.

This style of fishing—using a long, light, thin rod and attempting to toss a fishing line, with no weight attached, 60 or 70 feet and making the fly land softly on the water—is quite apart from any other type of fishing. If you ever get the opportunity to fly fish, by all means try it. You might find out that you have been missing out on a great sport.

If you come to Santa Fe, fly-fishing stores like Orvis and High Desert Angler can set you up with the right equipment and a guide, so that you can have a wonderful day on one of our beautiful streams. We fly fishermen have a saying, "A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of working." Agonizing over that thought is the reason I couldn't sleep last night!

Have a good day.

Stan

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